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In this article, the author argues that the recent allegations against Iran have been largely shaped by America’s perceptions of, and prejudices against Iran which were shaped by the changes in their relations post-1979.
By Aryaman Bhatnagar, 19 Oct, 2011
The most recent American allegations against Iran accusing it of plotting the assassination of the Saudi Ambassador in Washington and the Iranian dismissal of such allegations as being baseless have once again revealed the endless cycle of blame that characterises Iranian-American relations. This latest round of allegations and subsequent denials originates from the perception that America has of Iran.
The Quds Force (QF), a special branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps has been accused by the United States of America and Saudi Arabia to have been part of the plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to Washington. However, Iran’s alleged complicity in this plot has met with strong scepticism within the diplomatic community and from foreign analysts specialising in Iran. Moreover, the lack of evidence to indict the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khameini or the Revolutionary Corps in this plot does not help America’s claims. Despite this, the Americans are adamant that the plot had been sanctioned by the QF or directly by Khameini himself. The Americans are calling upon the international community to strengthen sanctions against Iran and have not completely ruled out the military option as retaliation for Iran’s “flagrant violation of international law”.
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By Aryaman Bhatnagar, 10 Oct, 2011
The attempts to establish a strong symbiotic relationship between Liberalism and peace can be traced back to the times of writers like Kant, Montesquieu and Rousseau. They proposed that liberal domestic constitutional and institutional mechanisms would make liberal states inherently more peaceful. It is the legacy of such works that has continued down till this day to influence a number of theorists, many of whom perceive liberalism to be a force for absolute pacifism. It has, in fact, provided the basis for the “Democratic Peace Thesis”, which argues that liberal democratic states never wage war against each other.
This pacification of foreign relations among liberal states is said to be a direct product of their shared legitimate political orders based on democratic principles and institutions. The reciprocal recognition of these common principles leads liberal democracies to share a feeling of mutual trust and respect towards each other reducing the possibility of war. Moreover, democratic institutions such as public opinion, legislatures and the electoral process make leaders more accountable making the possibility of large-scale war nearly impossible. Finally, the commercial ties between the liberal states also foster a spirit of interdependence and cooperation, further, reinforcing the ‘zone of peace’ between them. It is these transnational ties, liberal institutions and ideas, which together can account for sustained peace among the liberal states. It is also argued that liberal states are as war-prone or as aggressive in their approach to non-liberal states like other states and that they wage wars only for liberal or humanitarian purposes.